I love going on cruises. They’re an affordable vacation option and to me are easy to plan. One of my favorite parts about going on a cruise is once you board a ship, you can immediately start enjoying your vacation. Aboard the cruise ship, there are countless options for eating, relaxing and entertainment!
The schedule for each cruise will be different based on how many nights you stay and what destinations are scheduled. I love that cruising provides me with an opportunity to see so many beautiful places in a short amount of time.
Like any vacation, planning your first cruise can be very overwhelming. Below are my top 5 tips for planning your first cruise with ease.
5 Tips for Planning Your First Cruise Vacation
Tip 1: Determine Your Vacation Budget
When looking up cruise costs, the estimates will be per person. So if two people are traveling in your party, you will need to multiply their estimate by two.
When booking your cruise, remember to factor in taxes, tips, and port fees. These costs are not included in the initial quote when you’re searching ( I know – It can be very flustering!). As you plan, take the time to go to the checkout page to see the final cost of your cruise.
Calculate Tipping Cost: The recommend tipping amount for a cruise is 15-20%. You can pay this when you book or during your trip. The amount you tip will go to your housekeeper(s) and onboard serving staff.
Tip 2: Narrow Down Your Top Cruise Destinations(s) & Where You want to Set Sail
Before you select the port cities for your cruise, select the departure port city. For example, if you embark from Florida, your cruising destination options will include the Bahamas, Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean. Once you do this, you can view the itineraries that are available during the time you wish to cruise.
Tip 3: Pick The Cruise Line You Want to Sail on
Depending on who you talk to, you’ll hear different opinions on which cruise line to travel on and why. For us, we’ve only sailed on Royal Caribbean and have loved every trip – we’ve loved the ships, the atmosphere, and destinations. Loving our trips has given us the desire to want to cruise again and again, but so does their reward program. We love adding points to our Royal Caribbean rewards membership and moving to the next rewards level. Even if this is your first cruise, I recommend signing up for their reward membership. That way you can start earning rewards right away.
Tip 4: Decide the time of Year You Want to Cruise
The cost for your cruise will increase or decrease depending on the time of year you decide to cruise. If you can, plan your cruise vacation during an offseason to help reduce your cost. If you’re traveling to the Caribbean, make sure to check when hurricane season is. (It is usually between June through November each year.) You can still book a trip during hurricane season, but you’ll want to add hurricane insurance to your trip. That way you have the option to reschedule or get your money back from your trip if a hurricane happens to hit.
Tip 5: Set Alerts and Sign Up for Promotional Emails
I recommend signing up for your cruise line’s promotional emails. In addition to signing up for Royal Caribbean’s emails, I have also signed up for Direct Line Cruises’ emails. Direct Line Cruise is the only third-party cruise site I’ve book through and have had no issues.
Best of luck on booking your first cruise! If you have any questions or tips, please leave them in the comments below.